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Re: [Fwd: RE: Graphical makefile generators]

From: Noel Yap
Subject: Re: [Fwd: RE: Graphical makefile generators]
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 15:06:03 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.5 (Windows/20040212)

Tristan Van Berkom wrote:

See, we're trying to come up with *nix (particularly Linux) tools for programmers who are used to the Visual */IDE way of doing things. These developers are already used to using GUIs for all their programming, compilation and debugging needs and since *nix already provides GUIs for programming and debugging, the compilation part seemed like a natural step.

Having said that, idealistically, you're absolutely right that developers in theory should know everything about their tools and how they should be used and how they're put together (i.e., you write a makefile that make reads and uses to call your compiler, which reads your source code, compiles it, links it and spits out a binary executable), but there has been a steady trend towards greater and greater abstraction and toward increased usability. Along those lines, my bosses believe that creating a GUI in which you just choose which files you want visually is easier than having to manually edit the makefile by hand.

I think you're making an assumption that abstraction necessarily means GUI.  At 
our site, many things are abstracted such that, 99.99% of the time, all a 
programmer needs to do is update one or two macros that hold the names of the 
sources and header files.

As an aside, I'm sure that at some point, people said that all developers should have a fundamental knowledge of computer assembly and processor function, despite their use of high-level languages, but we've moved away from those more archaic forms of programming (for the most part) for good reason. While what I learned about assembly and processor function (and even compiler design) at school helps me with some design decisions, it's not completely necessary, except in a few unusual cases. And certainly, not having to learn it is much easier. =-P

I suppose this is a case of YMMV. I've seen several threads pop up here regarding floating point arithmetic (in Java and Sybase). It was obvious that those asking these questions didn't have a fundamental understanding of how floating point numbers are normally stored and its consequences.

IMHO, knowing what's going on underneath is one distinction between 
cream-of-the-crop and others.


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